29 April 2003

Tragic Legacy of Chernobyl Will Remain for Generations to Come Says Secretary-General on Anniversary of Nuclear Plant Accident

NEW YORK, 28 April (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued 26 April by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the seventeenth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident:

Twenty-six April marks the seventeenth anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

For the last 17 years, millions of people in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine have lived with a daily reminder of the moment that changed their lives forever. The explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor on 26 April 1986 has led to long-term consequences to their health and welfare. The tragic legacy of Chernobyl will remain with them, and their descendants, for generations to come.

As we take note of this grave anniversary, the Secretary-General wishes to make a special plea to the international community to remember the victims of Chernobyl. He reiterates the commitment of the United Nations system, in partnership with non-governmental organizations, to assist the governments and people of the affected States to forge ahead on the path to recovery. He calls on donors to respond generously in kind, in a joint demonstration that Chernobyl will never be forgotten.

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